Upcoming exec condo to offer telemedicine service to residents

An artist's impression of the telehealth kiosk that will be set up by HiDoc at the upcoming OLA executive condominium in Sengkang.
An artist's impression of the telehealth kiosk that will be set up by HiDoc at the upcoming OLA executive condominium in Sengkang. PHOTO: HIDOC

Residents of an upcoming executive condominium will be able to get medical consultations and receive medicine right on their doorstep.

This is the result of a partnership between HiDoc, a telehealth start-up, and Anchorvale, the developer of an upcoming luxury executive condominium called OLA, located in Sengkang.

Telehealth refers to healthcare being provided remotely using telecommunications technology.

HiDoc will set up a kiosk in a small room in the development so that families living there can consult doctors virtually, with medication to be delivered within hours.

This kiosk will use a webcam and touchscreen that allows patients to conduct video-enabled consultations with doctors.

It will have sensors and devices to capture patients' temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, among other indicators.

The development will have 548 units and is expected to be completed by December 2026.

Anchorvale is a subsidiary of Evia Real Estate and Gamuda Land, a leading property developer based in Malaysia.

Evia Real Estate director Vincent Ong said: "This physical kiosk is for people who are not so tech-savvy as telemedicine services are usually provided on mobile phones or online. But for this kiosk, people, particularly the elderly, can just go down to a room and talk to a doctor virtually."

He added that patients will not have to pay for consultation but will pay for medicine and the necessary delivery fees.

Dr Christina Low, HiDoc chief executive, added: "It is about bringing the continuity of care right into the patients' homes."

HiDoc was launched in January last year and now has around 3,000 patients and 40 doctors on the platform.

Dr Low said: "Telemedicine benefits the elderly but it also is for everyone. It is good for general practice services where patients can reach out to doctors remotely, but also for those who have follow-up cases for specialist care. For instance, a patient who has to see an orthopaedic surgeon post-surgery can do it through teleconsultation rather than queueing at the hospital and waiting to be seen again."

She added that telemedicine can also help those who are managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetic patients, who can be monitored remotely and called in only when required.

After seeing a patient over the webcam at the kiosk, the doctor can put out a digital prescription at an e-pharmacy.

Mr Ong said he will explore the setting up of lockers at the condominium so patients can collect their medicine.

The plan in the future is to roll out such kiosks to some nine other residential developments under his company.

He said: "It might be a slight incentive in the future for buyers, but for me, it is really about wanting to save a life and help someone (in need) to see a doctor."

Dr Low added that the kiosk does not replace the need to see a doctor face to face if the situation requires it. "If needed, the person will still need to go and see a doctor, whether it is to visit one of our doctors at their clinic or to go to their own neighbourhood GP," she said.

The kiosk will be unmanned but have an emergency telephone for situations where a patient may need assistance.

The HiDoc telehealth kiosk will be showcased when OLA opens its show gallery to the public on Feb 15.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2020, with the headline Upcoming exec condo to offer telemedicine service to residents. Subscribe